Stewed Beef with tamarind and apricot.

This is a thick and rich beef stew that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser when one is entertaining.

It goes well with many dishes and the leftovers can be great for a sandwich.

The addition of the dried fruits adds a bit of sweetness that blends in well with the other spices used.

You will need:-

1. Stewing Beef 1 kg cut in medium chunks.

2. One large onion, chopped. One bay leaf.

3. Ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp

4. Mixed spice blend, 1 tbsp. Divide in half.

5. Honey, a tbsp.

6. Apricots dried 1 cup chopped

7. Tomatoes 3, blended

8. Tamarind paste 1 tbsp

12. Bell pepper, chopped

13. Hot water / stock 2 cups

Method.

Rub beef with some oil and half the mixed spice blend. Rub all over well.

Heat pan and add oil.

Sear beef set aside.

Add oil if needed. Then bay leaf, onions and cook till soft. Add garlic ginger.

Next ground spices mixed well.

These are spices I used to make a spices blend for this dish, as well as a pinch of ground cinnamon.

Add tomatoes and tamarind and bell peppers.

I used some tomato paste too.

Let them cook down well. Return the beef.

I used raisins and apricots; you can chop the apricots too if you wish.

Cook low and slow for an hour then add the dried fruit mix. And some honey.

Add more water if needed.

Cook for another 30 or so minutes, on low, until meat is tender and sauce thick.

The meat is really tender at this point with a lovely aroma.

Check seasoning and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot over rice and salad on the side.

It makes an excellent main when entertaining or as a family meal. We had ours with some rice, potatoes and salad.
This is my go to beef dish when serving many people. It goes well with other dishes.

Sweet Potato and Apple Breakfast Casserole.

Weekends are for late breakfasts, and taking time to make and enjoy a filling meal to start and carry you through the day till dinner. This is an easy American style breakfast casserole that is healthy, tasty and quite satiating.

I really love sweet potatoes; boiled, fried, baked, grilled, stewed, in all its forms, and it is found in plenty here in Kampala, much to my happiness.

Fun fact: Sweet Potatoes are an ideal weaning meal too for little ones. Their natural sweetness is easier for the baby as it is as sweet as breast milk. So steam and mash it up well for your little ones. It is gentle on their digestive systems and rich in Vitamins A, C, full of betacarotene and has copper, manganese among other minerals important to your physical development. I weaned all my kids on this and I liked how easy it was to prepare and also quick for them to adapt to. Try it.

This breakfast casserole is quite loaded, making it tasty and filling. Let’s get started:-

Ingredients: 2 sweet potatoes, 3 apples, 2 tbsp oil, 1/ 2 tsp salt, 3 eggs, 1 cup coconut milk, butter, chia seeds, desiccated coconut, raisins and mixed nuts. Spices: pinch of nutmeg and 1 tbsp cinnamon.
Wash and grate your apples and strain all their juice. You can squeeze some lemon juice so they do not discolour.
Peel and clean then grate your sweet potatoes.
Heat your pan, add a bit of butter and the oil, cook the sweet potatoes till they turn golden brown and set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 200° Celsius and lightly grease your baking dish.

In a bowl, add the salt, spices, some chia seeds, the coconut milk, and the beaten eggs. Mix well.
Squeeze out all the juice from the apples and add to the egg mixture, then add the sweet potatoes and mix well.
Add the mixture to your baking dish and add the raisins, nut and coconut on top. You can use other toppings if you wish.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the eggs are set and the dish begins to brown. It may be a bit longer or shorter depending on your oven too.

Once ready, let cool a bit then serve as you wish.

Slice as per your preferred size. You can have as is with a cup of ginger tea.
Or you can serve with a crunchy red cabbage and carrot slaw.
Or my fav, with some creamy avocado slices with a bit of hot sauce. Yum!

Quick notes: I did not add sugar as the sweet potatoes here are sweet enough plus the apples. Do not throw the strained apple juice, you can use it to soak overnight oats or drink it, please don’t waste it.

Weekend breakfasts don’t have to be heavy fry ups or just same ol’ pancakes, you can try this for a change. Right?

Weekend Cuisine: Beef Mince Biriyani.

Biriani is a popular dish that is great when entertaining or when you want to treat your family to a delicious dinner or lunch. There are so many variations of this dish; I have never come across two people who make it the same way. But it is fun to keep trying different recipes as the flavours are so amazing!

What is biriani? It is basically a lovely ‘casserole’ of marinated and spiced meat, braised, then layered with spicy, flavoured, buttery rice, then you let them finish cooking over very low heat or in the oven and voila! You can use different meats and vegetables. I like making beetroot biriani for the kids lunchboxes; I will share the recipe soon, and mutton or chicken biri for special family dinners.

I woke up craving biri the other day, but the only meat I had on hand was beef mince; I didn’t let it deter me though, so let’s get started!

Ingredients:-

  • 2 cups Basmati rice, cleaned and soaked.
  • Whole spices for the rice; bay leaves, cardamom, black pepper, one star anise, cinnamon and cloves
  • 500 g beef mince
  • About 4 tbsp ghee
  • I bunch mint
  • 1 bunch coriander (blend half the coriander and mint leaves and ginger garlic paste )
  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 4 grated tomatoes
  • 4 onions, chopped and deep fried, you can use this recipe
  • three onions sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • Ground spices for the meat sauce; turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala
  • Optional; some rose water and food color. But if you can, please try them to get that restaurant quality aroma to the food. I didn’t have saffron, so used a teeny weeny bit of food colour.
  • 4 hard boiled eggs (optional) I didn’t use any here though.
  • Green chilli – I did not use any cause of the kids
The ingredients.

I first marinated the beef mince mince for about thirty minutes with a tbsp of ginger garlic paste, two tsp of natural yoghurt, 1/4 tsp of turmeric, 2 tbsp of coriander mint paste I had blended, a tsp of garam masala, salt and a tbsp of lemon juice. Set aside.

I usually start with the rice. Drain your soaked rice then boil water in a pan with the whole spices, salt to taste and a little bit of oil. Add the rice when the water is at a furious boil.
Do not let the rice cook completely, about six – seven minutes then remove from heat, drain and let cool in a big flat plate or pan, depending on how much rice you have. I used a baking tray and poke holes in the rice (please use a flat spoon or fork gently) to let the moisture escape. Once rice is cooled, you can pick out the whole spices so you don’t have to bite into them later, yikes!
Heat 2 tbsp ghee In the pan, add the sliced onions and cook till almost brown, then add the ginger garlic paste. Mix well. Add the ground spices; 1/4 tsp turmeric, red chilli powder if using and a teaspoon of ground coriander. Mix well then add the tomatoes and mix well. Cover and let the tomatoes cook down.
Add a cup of natural yoghurt and mix well.
Let it cook till the yoghurt splits.
Add the marinated beef mince and mix well.Cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
If using milk, once the mince is ready, then add a cup of milk. Mix and switch off heat.

Now we assemble the dish. You can move to an oven proof dish and layer then bake, or use the same pan of big enough, it is up to you.

Mix some little food colour in a teaspoon of rose water, and assemble the other ingredients, the parboiled rice, chopped Dhania and mint, ghee and fried onions.

I used the same pan. I layered the rice on top of the beef mince sauce.
Added the chopped coriander and mint, two remaining tablespoons of ghee, the fried onions and on the top layer, the rose water and food colour in a cross shape. If using boiled eggs, you can add them here too.
My photos are really bad here LOL, but the aroma is amazing. Cover the pan and one VERY LOW heat, let the rice finish cooking undisturbed for about 20 minutes.
Serve and garnish with some coriander leaves. Doesn’t it look lovely?

Obviously, no biriani dish is complete without a nice raita. It is an Indian condiment of natural yogurt and chopped vegetables and spices of choice. It offers a cooling effect as you eat your spicy meal. Best raita in my opinion for this dish is a cucumber mint one. You can make this before you get started on the main dish.

1 cup natural yoghurt, I chopped cucumber (peeled and deseeded), finely chopped mint leave, a tsp of chat masala, salt and black pepper. Mix well and let cool in fridge till ready to serve.
Final plate; Beef mince biriyani and cucumber mint raita. Delicious!

This is a perfect meal to make over the weekend when you are in no hurry. The rice is moist, perfectly cooked and the spices melt together so wonderfully. The fried onions also add a delightful crunch and sweetness, and the rose water a heavenly aroma that will have you salivating before the first bite. Yum!

This is one dish worth trying out!

Mūkimo ya Mbaazi.

This is basically mashed pigeon peas. We call pigeon peas ‘mbaazi’ and can eat them as fresh peas or dried, but you have to soak overnight. I like the dried ones better. Pigeon peas are a great source of protein and rich in minerals too.

You can have this dish with a hearty stew, a vegetable side or plain. It is quite filling and is on my list of comfort foods that bring back fond memories of home.

Let’s get started.

I soaked the pigeon peas overnight and boiled them till soft. The maize is optional. But this is from my little kitchen garden so why not include it, and some peeled and chopped potatoes.
Boil the potatoes in salted water, when ready, add the pigeon peas and maize and return to pan so they can heat through.
Mash well to a smooth mash like above. That’s it! Your mūkimo is ready. You can add some butter if you want as you mash.

Let us get started on our stew. We had this with an easy beef stew with roasted garden vegetables.

one tbsp of ginger garlic paste, two chopped onions, 350 g beef, chopped, two chopped tomatoes,one tbsp tomato paste, one green pepper chopped and two eggplants and two courgettes, chopped, and some coriander for garnish. The spice quantities are 1/2 tsp each.
Heat oil in a pan, when really hot, add the beef and brown well then set aside.
In the same pan, add your onions, once soft, add the ginger garlic paste, mix well then add the spices.
Add the green pepper, coriander stalks and the tomato puree, mix well.

Add your tomatoes, lower heat and cover and let cook till tomatoes are soft.

Heat your oven to 200degrees C, toss your chopped eggplant and courgette in some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

As the vegetables cook in the oven, add the meat to the softened tomatoes and a cup of water or broth and cover to let them simmer together.
Add your now ready roasted vegetables to the simmering stew, mix well and check seasoning. Cover and cook for ten minutes till its a thick sauce.
Garnish with chopped coriander, and a tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice, cover and let sit for a few minutes before serving.
Final plate: Mashed pigeon peas and a hearty beef and vegetable stew. Perfect comfort food!